Sony Vaio VGN-SZ3VWP/X review

Plenty of power and performance in a compact package

The Sony's strong carbon-fibre design prevents damage while on the move

TechRadar Verdict

Expensive, but one of the best business laptops on the market


  • +

    Small and stylish

    Great features


  • -

    No integrated HSDPA module

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One of the best known computer brands, Sony's VAIO range is extensive. Although a costly option, the Sony VAIO VGN-SZ3VWP/X (£1899 inc. VAT) is a high-powered and stylish ultraportable.

While not the smallest laptop around, the Sony provides excellent mobility. Its slim chassis fits neatly into small luggage and its strong carbon-fibre design prevents damage on the move. With both a dedicated Nvidia graphics card and integrated Intel chip, a Stamina/ Speed switch lets you change between the two, if you require greater 3D power or increased battery life.

Running for 212 minutes in Speed mode, mobility is increased to 244 minutes in Stamina mode. Although bettered by laptops from both HP and Lenovo, this can keep you working for half a business day. The Nvidia chip means 3D performance is outstanding for an ultraportable and basic gaming is possible on your travels.

This is helped by a stunning 13.3-inch screen. Displaying at 1280 x 800 pixels, screen space is ample. The glossy Super-TFT coating improves colour and contrast. Images are both sharp and vibrant, and ideal for working with digital video and photos.

Powered by an Intel Core 2 Duo processor, this is one of the most powerful laptops around. Performance beats most systems twice its size, making it a reliable travel tool. The inclusion of a recordable DVD drive means the Sony can be used as your sole business system.

A 1.3-megapixel camera is located above the screen, and can be used for video messaging and taking photos. A fingerprint reader below the keyboard can be used to protect your data without needing to remember complex passwords.

Usability is to the fore. The keyboard spans the entire width of the chassis. All keys are large and responsive, making speed-typing comfortable.

While it does provide wireless HSDPA internet access, the Sony doesn't have an integrated module. Instead, an ExpressCard slots into the left-side of the chassis to house the SIM card and deliver high- speed connectivity.

Service is provided by T-Mobile, with tariff prices ranging from £29 to £44 per month. Download speeds are impressive and ideal for the travelling business user.

Packing power and features into such a small laptop is no mean feat, but Sony has managed it in style. Although the price is certainly high, there are few better ultraportables around, and the addition of wireless internet access makes this an essential business laptop.

Tech Explained: Super TFT

While most laptop screens have a matt- coating to reduce screen reflections, this can diffuse light and reduce colour and contrast. Super-TFT screens have a glossy coating that allows light to easily pass through, resulting in brighter and more vibrant images, but this does increase reflections. was the former name of Its staff were at the forefront of the digital publishing revolution, and spearheaded the move to bring consumer technology journalism to its natural home – online. Many of the current TechRadar staff started life a staff writer, covering everything from the emerging smartphone market to the evolving market of personal computers. Think of it as the building blocks of the TechRadar you love today.